Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Chandra, I think that the idea that Christians believe that god is some old man in the sky is somewhat untrue. I do not say that there are no Christians that believe that but very few I have met have that understanding of god. I don't think the description of god as 'something' is that bad really, god is too big for us humans to full grasp really. I cannot really describe how I see god because I feel that language does not cover it all.
I believe that Jesus was the son of god but at one point in life my beliefs were similar to yours so I understand your thoughts.
I am all for gay and lesbian rights and I also believe that god make all of us the way we are. I don't say that you cannot make sexually sinful choices but I think that gay and lesbian poeple can live an acceptable life in god's eyes and still not have to change who they are attracted to.
I don't see abortion as a good thing but sometimes it is in my opinion the lesser evil. I however think that as Christians it should be something we should obstain from for moral reasons but I don't want to force others to think like me.
I believe in an afterlife but I have no idea what it will be like, I don't think the bible is very clear on this.
UU, Liberal Quaker, and Secular Humanist were my top 3 on Beliefnet when I took it a couple years ago :)
Your version of God (set things in motion then let them run) sounds like Deism. My boyfriend is a Quaker Deist. I consider myself a non-theist Friend, since I don't really have a strong belief in a separate-entity-as-deity, rather as a wholly internal thing we all share (sort of a Hive Mind, if you're into sci-fi...). Thinking of Jesus as a human prophet or a guy with some great ideas or an exemplary role model we should emulate should have you fitting in just fine in a lot of Liberal meetings.
Basically, hyphen-Quakers are pretty common. Jewish-Quaker, Buddhist-Quaker, Atheist-Quaker... Given "you must believe X, Y, and Z to go to Heaven" is something you don't stand by, then "Universalist Quaker" (or even more adjectives if you want to pile on) would probably fit if you decide to go the Quaker route.
The Religious Society of Friends is a welcoming place to rest, as several Friends have described. For many people, that's all they want. And that is fine, as long as they are tolerant of the myriad beliefs found under one roof.
But Karen has brought up an important point. If all you want out of religion is to fit in somewhere, you might not find it.
You will find great tolerance among Friends, but we are not merely a place where "you can believe whatever you want," as some people say. Friends are challenged to live in the Light. (Or, in more Christian terminology, to stand in the Cross.) We may not be into doctrine, but we are on a spiritual journey. We are challenged to live as Christ/God/Spirit teaches us to live.
The Sermon on the Mount is where we begin, rather than focusing on salvation. The most agnostic/nontheist Friends will tell you something in different language about ethics and right living in the world, like "living simply so that others can simply live." No matter the language, being a Quaker is not about being comfortable. And religion, as practiced, isn't supposed to be comfortable. We walk the language of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable."
But if you are looking for a place that puts the focus on living in sacred space and walking in Truth as you live with others, then you have found your home.
Thee is welcome with Friends.
Yours in the Light, Paula
p.s. For more on this, google "Friends Queries." Queries are used by Friends for reflecting on how we live. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting describes them as follows:
Friends have assessed the state of this religious society through the use of queries since the time of George Fox. Rooted in the history of Friends, the queries reflect the Quaker way of life, reminding Friends of the ideals we seek to attain. From the Christian tradition, Friends have taken as a standard the life and teaching of Jesus, not only as recorded in the New Testament, but even more importantly as revealed inwardly, as we seek God's truth and its expression through our lives today. Friends approach queries as a guide to self-examination, using them not as an outward set of rules, but as a framework within which we assess our convictions and examine, clarify, and consider prayerfully the direction of our lives and the life of the community.